L.A. Heat [TV Series] (1999)

Run Time - 60 min.  |  
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It is an understatement to note that the weekly, hour-long action series L.A. Heat was inspired by the Lethal Weapon films starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. Truth to tell, the series was a virtual carbon copy of its "inspiration": A loose-cannon white cop partnered with a peace-loving black cop, with both men answerable to a bombastic, tantrum-throwing chief; and as a bonus, the white cop was a bachelor, while the black cop was a loyal family man with a beautiful wife. All that was missing were Joe Pesci, an exploding toilet, and the constant subliminal references to The Three Stooges. Heading the cast of L.A. Heat were Wolf Larson as white police detective Chase McDonald, a hotheaded seven-year veteran of the LAPD and a talented artist on the side; and Steve Williams as McDonald's African American partner, Det. Austin Brooks, a level-headed former boxer who had been on the force for sixteen years. Armed with state-of-art weaponry, fast fists and an endless supply of wisecracks, McDonald and Brooks took on a variety of skuzzy criminals on the mean streets of L.A., leaving a long trail of broken windows, wrecked automobiles and devastated buildings in their wake. Also in the cast were Renee Tenison as August's wife Kendra, who worked at an inner-city recreation center, and Kenneth Tigar as McDonald and Brooks' explosive senior officer, Captain Jensen. During the series' first season, Chase was going steady with a girl named Jody (Dawn Radenbaugh, aka Dawn Eason), who wanted him to quit police work and join her in opening an art gallery; after Jody left the scene, Chase played the field with a variety of attractive women. Filmed on location in Southern California and packaged by the PM Entertainment Group, L.A. Heat began production in 1996, but the producers were unable to secure a network, cable or syndicated timeslot in the U.S. Thus, the series was first distributed to Europe, where it scored a phenomenal success--most notably in Germany, where it even out-rated the most popular American import of the period, Baywatch. On March 15, 1999, nearly a full year after the series closed down production, the 48-episode L.A. Heat was finally picked up for American consumption by cable's TNT network, where it ran on a daily basis for the next two seasons.